Collaborative Performance as a Function of Network Members’ Perceptions of Success
Interorganizational networks are a common collaborative approach to tackle complex issues such as public health, national security, education, and poverty. While there is a consensus that networks are a viable approach to these issues, it is unclear what factors lead to effective collaborative performance. One issue for assessing performance is the lack of sufficient evaluation/assessment methods and, subsequently, of empirical data. Applying a conceptual model based in the literature, this study examines characteristics of network members and their perceptions of success in order to ascertain the degree to which members’ agreement on outcomes varies among networks and the characteristics of members of networks that report greater levels of success or of disagreement about success. This study contributes to the collaborative performance literature by analyzing an unprecedentedly large N (n ¼ 98) dataset of interorganizational (whole) networks to test empirically the conceptual model. The results show that higher trust and greater resource contributions predicted higher levels of perceived success among members of a network. A second model, with disagreement about success as the dependent variable, more resources, and higher amounts of diversity, predicted higher levels of disagreement about success. We conclude that the literature on interorganizational networks overemphasizes the benefits of network diversity, and that diversity may, in fact, hinder perceptions of success.
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